Announcing Thrust Lifter: A New Game by Matt Barton

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Matt Barton's picture

Just in time for Christmas!

Armchair Arcade is proud to present a spanking new game from Matt Barton: Thrust Lifter!

Thrust LifterThrust LifterSpace. For most people, it's just an abstract concept, like Hollywood or an honest politician. For you, it's a day job. Sure, you won't find "rescuing trapped space miners" on your resume, but that's because you don't have a resume. You're known in this galaxy simply as "The Captain." Most folks think you're a hero. Others think you're just plain nuts. But one thing's for sure--they all call YOU when it's a matter of life or death.

You see, mining has never been the safest occupation, but multiply it by ten--make it a a hundred--when you're talking space mining. The rewards are great, but so is the danger. When all you've got is a half centimeter of neoprene-coated nylon between you and vacuum, though, it's nice to know that someone like you is up there watching your butt.

It's never been easy, but I don't have to tell you that, Captain. But now we're getting reports of unidentified flying objects in sector 42--aliens, if you can believe it. All the other pilots are too spooked to even enter the sector. I need you go there, Captain, and rescue those Chilenoids. Get'em out of the tunnels and mountains and bring them back to their home base.

I suspect this is a one-way mission, Captain. So I'll just say goodbye, and it's been an honor serving with you.


Admiral Blount

Thrust Lifter is a game of timing and precision. Guide your lander into narrow tunnels, avoiding collisions with walls, fires, lava, electricity, and all manner of aliens. Get to the Chilenoids before they run out of oxygen and bring them back to the home pad before taking off to your next destination.


  • 15 beautiful, massive levels for you to navigate
  • Five original songs composed by Matt Barton with keyboards and real electric guitar
  • Amazing fire, lightning, and particle effects
  • Sprites built from 3D graphics made with Blender
  • Two boss fights
  • Compete to finish levels in the shortest time
  • High score list


Dark Acre Jack
Dark Acre Jack's picture
Joined: 04/06/2011
Excellent Game!

Hey Matt,

Thanks for sharing your creation. I really enjoyed playing it!

Did you consider having the craft auto-align to perpendicular when the landing gear was deployed? I feel like that would really help with accessibility and not necessarily make the game more or less difficult, just a little smoother.

Also, how about larger, in-game view labels for telling the player when it's time to go back to base and into space? Not necessary if you've played and beaten at least the first level, but some players might find such a cue helpful.

All in all, fantastic work and I'm looking forward to your future developments.

Charles (not verified)

Hi Matt,

I sent word to Hopefully they'll take some time to check out TL & help make you famous :)

Happy New Year!

Matt Barton
Matt Barton's picture
Joined: 01/16/2006
Hehe, thanks, Charles & Jack.

Hehe, thanks, Charles & Jack. I really should get around to making a page for my game projects here at AA. Bill is doing the groundwork on our own publishing company, Myth Core, which I plan to leverage for my next game if and when that ever transpires.

It's really nice to see comments about the game! I've never been Mr. Popularity--the sort of guy who has one or two close friends and everybody else is an acquaintance at best. I've always been terrible at "working a room," schmoozing, networking, or "kissing ass" as they say. The result is that I have a near impossible time getting anyone to care about the work I do, no matter how much heart and soul I put into it. Unless you have that magical trait of getting people to care enough about you and your work to mention it to others, you're just spinning your wheels out in the desert somewhere.

It's a bit of an irony, but I constantly get people leaving comments on Matt Chat about the far more popular shows (such as Angry Video Game Nerd) that they like. As if these guys needed the publicity! But that's the way it goes. I doubt any of these people ever bother to mention my show to those other audiences. Kinda makes you want to scream sometimes.

Charles (not verified)
Hey I didn't know about Angry

Hey I didn't know about Angry Video Game Nerd!! Sorry Matt but I have to make a choice, so clearly I'll be watching that now :)

All jokes aside I see what you mean. I'll be compared to Grimrock when UW Gold finally ships, and I doubt I'll get even a fraction of the attention they did. Only one way to go, do the best you can, add a little bit more and take down Goliath with a single stone!


Matt Barton
Matt Barton's picture
Joined: 01/16/2006
You know, after spending so

You know, after spending so much time with Unity, I'm starting to think it would actually have been EASIER to use it for Thrust Lifter than Gamemaker would have been! The built-in physics would definitely have made a huge difference.

IMO, the GM people really need an officially supported and integrated physics.

Looking back on it, probably the two worst design decisions I made during Thrust Lifter was (a) retractable landing gear and (b) free-drawn backgrounds. Looking back, I could have saved myself incredible frustration by having the landing gear always be down, since then I could've handled collision code without having to worry about the state of the animation. This one little problem took me most of the game's development to work out, and it's still not perfect. It definitely wasn't worth all the days of pain and anguish I went through just for a simple effect.

Secondly, I probably should have done the backgrounds differently. The backgrounds look great (well, to me anyway!), but I could have saved a huge amount of storage by just designing the levels within the GM editor and using tiles. This would have likely taken longer since the GM level editor is pretty much AWFUL, but I'd probably have about 5 megs worth of graphics for the backgrounds instead of a hundred. Of course, you'd miss out on the cool gradients and such, but a cooler person would probably have worked out a technique with semi-transparent titles, layers, or just a few extra ones of various shades. I'd probably have to make the levels more constrained to fit the tiles, tough, making it blockier looking. I didn't expect anyone in this day and age to really care about the file size, but that's been a major complaint.

Joined: 01/01/2011
Soundtrack, Podcast, and Other Randomness

Ok, just purchased my registered copy. It's a really fun, well-designed game overall. Took me a little bit of time to get used to the speed of the ship, but once you've got it down it's pretty simple to control overall. To be honest, Mayhem is a bit more my style, but you did a great job with this game too. Too be honest, sometimes I just like to max out the thrusters and bash the ship into the wall at full speed back and forth across the map just for fun, or rapidly bounce it back and forth inside a narrow tunnel... >.>;

The soundtrack is great, I can tell you put a lot of worth into it. Have you considered putting the tracks on iTunes or possibly making them available via link to registered owners? That would be a cool little bonus incentive as well for those who haven't registered yet.

I'm really looking forward to the CRPG you're working on. I've been reading the dev blogs, which is a pretty cool thing to be throwing up on the site. You haven't done a podcast in awhile; have you considered throwing one up that talks about the game you're currently designing and some of the hurdles and successes you're having with Blender? That would be a pretty cool podcast in my opinion. Also, and this may be too much effort on top of doing Matt Chat and designing the games, but a kind of teaser video at some point in the future where you talk about designing the game and show some of the gameplay and such would also be pretty sweet.

Anyway, keep up the great work, these have been well-designed and entertaining games so far, and I look forward to whatever comes next!

Shawn Delahunty
Shawn Delahunty's picture
Joined: 08/01/2011
Thrust Lifter == Linux Love


First off, my apologies to all for disappearing. I've been out of things for quite some time, sorry about that. ("Real Life"(TM)(R)(c)(mouse) has a bad habit of sucking some times, so use a BIIIG straw.) But I have to tell you that it is a genuine delight to return to Armchair Arcade and find so much game-ridden goodness waiting!

KUDOS on the game development progress! Thrust Lifter is a good, solid, very enjoyable game. I've only downloaded the demo thus far, and played just a very few levels. However, like several others have stated, the music is very nice for a homebrew/indie game. I've actually got the game running on another screen right now, with the ship parked on one of the "Chilenoids" pick-up platforms, just so I can listen to the ethereal soundtrack. Very very well done sir.

The other thing I am excited to note about this game is that it is "Linux Friendly". I'm running it under WINE on an admittedly strange and heavily customized Linux build--best of all, it's barely touching the CPU, and has had ZERO glitches:

Gentoo 64-bit custom build
Intel Core2 Duo @ 2.4Ghz (mostly running at 800Mhz during gameplay, with occasional tiny spikes to 1.6Ghz.)

This functionality means that I'll be coughing up at least a couple bucks for the full version. Please keep developing.


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